Bocki Old Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Podlaskie Voivodeship
Bielsk Podlaski
Site address
The old cemetery is located in the eastern part of the village, near today's Załońska Street and the parish church, next to two apartment blocks. Locals also call the area “behind the church” which is now surrounded by houses. Cadastral parcels no. 200304_2.0002.1287/1, 200304_2.0002.1287/3, 200304_2.0002.1287/4
GPS coordinates
52.652072, 23.049619
Perimeter length
349 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
It is only partly fenced by an old low concrete wall and a higher concrete wall belonging to private property. The old wall is about 1m high, the higher wall has a height of about 1.7-1.8m.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
It is an unfenced Jewish cemetery that has been largely built over. There is a mound between two apartment blocks where one tombstone is preserved. The area is partly fenced by an old concrete wall (original fence of the former cemetery) and a higher wall belonging to private property. The north-eastern border is overgrown and delineated by a distinct earthen embankment.
Number of existing gravestones
There is one overturned matzevah that had survived, with a visible hebrew inscription on it, although it is barely legible. It is likely not in its original place.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

The first Jewish cemetery in Boćki was likely established in the first half of the 17th century, approximately 400 metres northeast of the centre. It was located near the church complex and the monastery of the reformers, which was built after 1730. In the 1930s, the cemetery area was fenced with a low, concrete wall. After World War II, the cemetery was abandoned. In the 1960s and the 1970s, two apartment blocks were built over the area. Only a small part in the north of the cemetery has been preserved. It is covered with grass, bushes, and trees. There is a granite matzevah (from 1848) and a few fragments of other tombstones. The concrete fence (from the east and north) has also been partially preserved. Some matzevot from the cemetery (made of granite boulders with several inscriptions from 1801/1802 to 1874) were taken from the cemetery in the 1960s and the 1970s and used to build a brick fence for the Christian cemetery.

The first mentions of the village of Boćki date to the end of the 15th century. Boćki was granted town rights around 1513 and was founded as a private town. During the wars of the mid-17th century, it was destroyed by the Russian army. It was destroyed again in 1769. The town was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century. At the end of the 18th century, there were over 1,500 inhabitants in Boćki, over 40% of whom were Jews. The town was destroyed during World War I and World War II. In 1934, its town rights were lost. Before the outbreak of World War II, there were approximately 2,500 people in the town, 30% of whom were Jews.

In 1568, Jews received a permit from the Sapieha family to settle in Boćki. Following the invasion of Russian troops in 1660, the Jewish community suffered, and it did not recover until about 50 years later. At the end of the 18th century, 666 Jews lived in Boćki, and 1,262 in 1878 (66% of the population) and about 800 in 1939. During World War II, Boćki was occupied by the Soviet army, and in June 1941, by Germany. In the fall of 1941, a ghetto was established in the town. In October, the Jews were gradually deported to the extermination camp in Treblinka.